Mean Green Falls Short Defensively At Rice
Combs Records Seventh Straight Double-Double In Loss
Junior J-Mychal Reese scored 23 points and dished out five assists in the loss at Rice (photo by Rick Yeatts).
HOUSTON -- The North Texas men’s basketball team scored 87 points but just couldn’t get enough stops down the stretch falling on the road at Rice, 95-87, Saturday at the Tudor Fieldhouse.
The Mean Green shot 52.5 percent (32-of-61) and hit seven three pointers but Rice countered shooting 55.6 percent (30-of-54) and 11 made three three-pointers, including six of eight in the second half.
“We continue to be dangerous on the offensive end but tonight we couldn’t get stops to get us back in the game,” head coach Tony Benford said. “Jeremy (Combs) played an amazing game and continues to be one of the best players in our league. We only committed three turnovers in the second half but couldn’t close out on their shooters.”
North Texas drops to 7-14 overall and 2-6 in league play after an eight point road loss at Rice. Sophomore Jeremy Combs finished with his seventh straight double-double on 25 points (nine of 10) and grabbed 13 rebounds (nine offensive). Combs did foul out for the first time this season and was seven of 10 from the free throw line.
Junior J-Mychal Reese added 23 points off eight of 17 from the field and dished out five assists. Senior Eric Katenda scored 16 points and pulled down five rebounds. Junior Deckie Johnson handed out a career-high six assists and chipped in 10 points.
In the first half, North Texas opened with a 6-4 lead off a layup from Katenda with 17:26 on the clock. Rice answered with a 5-0 run to take a 9-6 lead off a layup from Marcus Evans.
With 9:33 remaining in the half, the score was tied at 21-21 off a layup from Egor Koulechov. Rice would hit back-to-back three pointers to take a 27-21 lead with 6:30 in the half.
The Mean Green quickly cut the lead to two points after a 7-3 run capped by a driving layup from freshman Ja’Michael Brown. North Texas took a one-point lead twice before Rice tied the game at 35-35 with 1:25 on the clock.
The Owls held a 40-37 halftime lead after two made free throws from Max Guercy .
In the second half, Rice came out not missing going six for six to start the final session. North Texas started to climb back into the game cutting the lead to four points after a layup from Katenda made the score 61-57 with 11:56 left.
With 5:41 remaining, the Mean Green was within six points after a jumper by Johnson cut the Owls’ lead to 74-68. Rice answered with a dagger three from Evans to push the lead right back to nine points at 77-68. North Texas wouldn’t get closer than eight points the rest of the game falling to Rice, 95-87.
North Texas will return home for a TV game on American Sports Network Thursday, Feb 4 at 8 p.m.
Mean Green Quick Hits
-First time all season the Mean Green had all five starters in double figures
-Sophomore Jeremy Combs recorded his seventh straight double-double
-Senior Eric Katenda scored in double figures for the sixth time this season
-Junior Deckie Johnson scored double figures for the fifth straight game and 16th time this season
-Junior J-Mychal Reese scored in double figures for the 16th time this season, fifth time scoring 20-plus points
-North Texas hit a three pointer for the 72nd straight game